Sunday, July 25, 2021

Minority Walks Out of Parliament’s Approval of Martin Adjei Korsah and Three Others

The Minority Group in Ghana’s Parliament has boycotted the approval of the last batch of the President’s nomination for Deputy Ministerial appointments. The last four...
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Ghana is playing host to the Delocalized Committee Meeting of the ECOWAS Parliament to deliberate on matters of Telecommunications and Information Communication Technology in the West African Sub-region.

“High on the agenda is the quest to find a common ground to develop some level of convergence in terms of the institutions across the various countries both in terms of regulations and service charges,” said Afenyo Markin, Chairman of Ghana’s delegation to the ECOWAS Parliament.

The meeting which is scheduled to last for five days, will start from Monday, July 26 to Friday, July 30, 2021 where delegations from 15 member countries would be hosted at Winneba in the central region.

Though the ECOWAS Parliament sits in Abuja, Nigeria, countries in the sub-region are encouraged to host localized meetings of the various committees in order to reach out to the people in the communities.

This particularly meeting being hosted by Ghana under the theme: Telecommunication and Information Technology and its Impacts on Security and Human Rights in the sub-region, is a joint meeting by three committees of the sub-regional Parliament.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who also doubles as the Chairman of the ECOWAS Heads of State and the Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament, Rt. Hon. Speaker Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, will join the Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Mohammed Tunis to officially open the meeting.

Briefing the Parliamentary Press Corps on the purpose of the meeting at the precincts of Parliament on Friday, July 23, 2021, the spokesperson for the meeting in Ghana, Mahama Ayariga intimated that, due to the major role telecommunication and information technology is indeed playing in the lives of the people in the sub-region, the committees have come together to invite experts to advice its members of these developments.

“But more importantly, we meet so that we see how we can develop some level of convergence in terms of the institutions across the various countries both in terms of regulations service charges among others.

“As you all know, there has been an explosion in terms of the reach of telecommunication and an expansion of infrastructure across the sub-region. Almost every nook and cranny of the sub-region is mostly networked now and almost every citizen now possesses a cell phone. And we do many things using telecommunication infrastructure and new information technology platforms.

“The financial sector, if you just take as an example mobile money platform and how it has revolutionized the financial sector within such a very short period of time amazes all of us. But that is how far we have come as a sub-region.

“If you also see the extent to which politically, social media has become a major platform for political expression by citizens. It has become a major organizing tool for political actors and social organization across the sub-region. And we also know the extent to which we are all using all forms of technology in our elections, both in voter registration, in campaign and in election itself.”

Source: Clement Akoloh||parliamentnews360.com

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By Melvin Tejan Mansaray

Addressing the Floor of the Continental Parliament during the ongoing 4th Ordinary Session of the Fifth Pan-African Parliament (PAP) held on Wednesday 26th May 2021 in Midrand, South Africa, Honorable Solomon Sengehpoh Thomas, Leader of the Sierra Leone Delegation to PAP said that he was disturbed at how language is being used as a vehicle of division within the Parliament.

Hon. Thomas was contributing to the debate on the adoption of the Activity Report of PAP delivered by Hon. Chief Fortune Charumbira, Acting President of the PAP.

Hon. Thomas opened his submission by thanking the Government and People of South Africa for hosting them in their country at a very difficult period of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic that has disrupted the smooth running of global operations.

On the Activity report, he said “ I wholeheartedly accept this report Mr. President and Honorable Members. I wish to state that there need to look into the reports of Committees,” adding that there are serious issues to be considered.

“I will urge the incoming Bureau after the election to ensure that we have the formula to look into some of the critical decisions by Committees,” Hon. Thomas said.

He noted that as for the decisions of the PAP Acting Bureau, “ I should say that we can wholly accept that because the Bureau is a smaller unit.”

On his second point of note, Hon. Thomas said: “Ever since we came here, I was particularly disturbed by the kind of division we have demonstrated as an African Parliament.”

He said: “Interestingly, we have allowed ourselves to be divided along with the languages of the former colonial masters. It is a shame on all of us. We are not divided along with African languages, we have allowed ourselves to be divided along with the languages of our former colonial masters. We should be ashamed of ourselves.”

Hon. Thomas is the Deputy Speaker of the Sierra Leone Parliament, representing the governing Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) for a second inning.

However, acting PAP President Hon. Chief Fortune Charumbira in response to the numerous concerns registered by the MPs said that it is important for Member States to ratify the Malabo Treaty, focus on youth, women, and girls, the need for proper analysis on the divergent arguments on the rotation policy, PAP’s deep budget cut, relationship with the PRC and explained that the PAP employs the African Union policy on regional balance and rotation for the recruitment of the PAP staff.

It is apparent that on Thursday 27 May 2021 at 2 pm, the PAP will conduct elections for the President and Vice Presidents of its Bureau, which is expected to usher in new leadership for the Continental Parliament.

Africanewsradio.com

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By Melvin Tejan Mansaray

Speaking during the plenary debate on the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) Activity Report presented by Acting PAP President, Hon. Chief Fortune Charumbira, Honorable Julius Malema, a Member of the South African Parliament’s Delegation to the PAP unrepentantly stressed the notion for equity and fairness as enshrined in the African Union (AU) principle of Rotation for the President and Vice President positions of the Continental Parliament.

Hon. Malema said that the Parliament must agree in the first place that the principle of rotation is not a principle of sharing power adding that certain people think that they must have power over others.

“The principle of rotation is to unite the continent and if we are concerned about the unity of the continent then we would not have a problem about the principle of rotation. We must first understand its purpose. If you have a problem with the type of candidature that Southern Africa is presenting, for instance, you will rather say, we agree with the rotation and therefore we suggest that the North will take. Let the debate be about which regions have not received and which regions will you support. Not that the regions who have not received must wait for some ratification to apply a principle that seeks to unite the Continent,” Hon. Malema said.

He continued that the forefather that came before them wanted to eliminate an unnecessary contestation amongst Africans by coming up with a democratic principle which will cover all the regions.

He said: “If you are concerned about the unity of this Continent and you are not serving the interest of the imperialists and colonialists you will never have a difficulty on the application of a principle that will unite Africans and that is what this vote is about.”

He noted that it is so embarrassing that former leaders of PAP can do everything in their power to divide the institution and undermine the legitimacy of it.

“You can use your majority and keep this power and this presidency in your regions, and if that is the unity of Africa that you are talking about, that power must only circulate in your regions go on with it but be aware that you are serving the interest of imperialism that seeks to keep us divided. The unity of this Continent will not wait for ratification of any form. The unity of this Continent needs us to apply it as in yesterday. We don’t require any ratification of anything for us to be united and anyone who says that we require ratification that person does not know what unity is about. Unity is about us coming together with a paper or no paper,” Hon. Malema said.

It could be recalled that the PAP on 18 May 2017 in Midrand, South Africa adopted the Resolution on the Rotation of the Presidency of the PAP. It noted that that the principle of rotating the office of the President of the PAP is not prescribed in the basic texts of the Parliament but recognized the fact that this principle is expressly mentioned in the amended Protocol of the PAP (article 12.1) adopted by the 23rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea on 27 June 2014 amongst other things.

Paragraphs five and six of the Resolution stated that: “ Recognizing that African Union respects the practice of rotating the presidency of its Organs;
Accordingly decides that the Rules of Procedure of the Pan-African Parliament be amended in accordance with the provisions of Rule 93 to include the Principle of Rotation of the Office of the President of the Pan-African Parliament.”

However, there are divergent views on the implementation of this principle for which the Hon. Malema is agitated against its opponents.

However, the election of the PAP President and Vice Presidents is slated for Thursday 27 May 2021 at 2 pm.

Africanewsradio.com

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Proceedings of the ongoing Fourth Ordinary Session of the Fifth Parliament of the Pan-African Parliament in Midrand, South Africa, has been truncated due to Covid-19 infections. The Session has therefore been adjourned till Monday, May 31, 2021.

The Clerk to the Continental Parliament, Vipya Harawa, announced to the House on Thursday, May 27, 2021, that a staff member had tested positive for the virus and therefore poses a threat to the continuous running of the business scheduled for the day.

The House was scheduled to undergo an election process on this day to compose a new Bureau to steer the affairs of the Pan-African Parliament since the term of this current Bureau headed by the Acting President, Hon, Chief Fortune Charumbura, expires by the end of the month of May 2021.

The announcement was met with some disagreements from some of the Members of Parliament who felt that business of the House should continue regardless of the COVID scare. They were of the view that the both interim leadership of the PAP and the Members of Parliament were fully aware of the risk they were taking before they set out to participate in this session.

To them, there should be no excuses in the performance of their duty. And besides, they argue that the person who has tested positive is not a Member of Parliament and therefore that should be too much of a concern for the plenary to want to truncate the election process.

This generated a heated argument in the House for a little over half an hour before the Acting President insisted on an adjournment until Monday, May 31, 2021 where the election would be held after some disinfection of the environment and stricter COVID protocols have been put in place.

The House seems to be divided over disagreements on the implementation of the principle of rotational Presidency of the Pan-African Parliament since the 3rd day on Wednesday, May 26, 2021.

Source: Clement Akoloh||parliamentnews360.com

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By Melvin Tejan Mansaray

A member of the Ghanaian Delegation to the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), Honorable Alhaji Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka has commended female members of the PAP for wearing African attire.

He made this statement during the debate of the PAP Activity Report at the ongoing 4th Ordinary Session of the Fifth Parliament held on Wednesday 26th May 2021 in Midrand, South Africa.

He said: “In the Activity Report, we talk about the history and oral tradition of Africa. When you talk about tradition it not just about your language, what you eat, and what you wear. Let me say, brothers and sisters in Africa if you look at this Chamber, I must commend the women. If you enter here and look at the women, you will see truly Africans.”

This comment was greeted with resounding applause from the Floor, but however, Hon. Muntaka said: “ Unfortunately, many of us the men, I know it is a habit, let us try to inculcate the habit of wearing African dress because that is what we will reflect, so when you come and see that PAP is sitting you will see the reflection of Africa in us.”

Hon. Muntaka concluded his point by underscoring that he knows that it is difficult for many of the participants not to be wearing suits cautioning that, “ but remember the more suits that you buy you are employing others outside the Continent. If you wear more African dress you are empowering the Africans.”

On the issue of ratification of the rotation of presidency resolution, he said the time for real action is now and suggested that “ the real action is that I am suggesting that yes we will welcome and swear you in, but to be able to be elected in any of the Bureau, whether Committee or Region or at the helm of affairs, your country must ratify. If we do that it is going to put pressure on all of us to ensure that our countries ratify the treaty. Because if you just come and your country has not ratified the Malabo Treaty and you are chairing Committee or a Vice-chair, what will motivate you to put pressure on your country to ratify .”

On the issue of African unity, Hon. Muntaka said the complaint of no unity by MPs can only be addressed with equity and fairness.

“We have been here, this is the seventeenth year of PAP and we sit and North Africa, South Africa Caucuses have not been able to lead. No Portuguese have been able to lead this Caucus, No Arab has been able to lead this Caucus and you talk about unity, you are just deceiving yourself. We don’t need ratification before we start implementing rotation. We must allow rotation to happen, that is when you empathize with me, you have my feeling, you know I also matter but if all of it is about you and you then turn around and say let us have unity, who are you deceiving.

You are just deceiving yourself because you only care about yourself. You are steeping on my toe and you are telling me just keep quiet, the quiet will bring peace, there can never be peace without justice and therefore I want to urge us, we have had a woman president, we have had a president from West Africa, Central Africa, and East, I think in fairness we need to give the opportunity to the North and South and another time a Portuguese to be able to lead, that is when we can have peace .”

He concluded his submission by saying that the opposite of love is not hatred but indifference, just sitting unconcerned.

“You claim you love PAP don’t just keep quiet when injustice is going on, that is what is love,” Hon. Muntaka said.

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A member of Ghana’s delegation to the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), Alhaji Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak has declined his nomination by the West African Caucus as its candidate to contest for one of the four vacant slots in the Pan-African Parliament.

He declined the nomination following disagreements with the delegation of Mali which were also insistent on presenting a candidate for the Presidency of PAP despite the regime challenges in that country.

The Five Regional Caucuses of the PAP are mandated to nominate candidates who will fill the vacant positions of the president and the four vice presidents. For the vice-presidential slots, each regional caucus will have to nominate two candidates. One of whom should be a female to stand for the elections.

However, according to the continental legislative body’s rules of procedure, a region can either nominate candidate for the post of president or vice president but not for both. The two West African countries, Ghana and Mali were in a deadlock for quite a while at the ongoing Session of the Pan-African Parliament in Midrand.

Even before the opening of the PAP Session on Monday, May 24, 2021, there had been concerns about the admissibility of Mali’s delegation to PAP following the obvious regime difficulties in that country which has been further aggravated by a total recall of the Malian delegation to the PAP. Information from unofficial sources say that the delegation has been given three days to return to Mali.

News reports from Mali on African Union Day, Tuesday, May 25, 2021 had it that the Vice President in that country has ousted the President and Prime Minister along with the Ministers, which makes it impossible for Mali’s delegation to remain at PAP Session let alone get a nomination since the current ongoing situation in the country goes against the AU Constitutive Act on democracy and rule of law.

Following the deadlock between the Ghanaian and the Malian delegations, the Nigerian Senator, Ibn Na’Allah has therefore emerged the Vice Presidential candidate for the West African Region for the election which is scheduled for Thursday, May 27, 2021 as one of the major highlights of the Fourth Ordinary Session of the Fifth Parliament currently ongoing in Midrand, South Africa.

The election of a new Bureau before the expiration of this month of May has become necessary because the mandate of the current Bureau headed by the Acting President of PAP, Hon. Chief Fortune Charumbira expires with the month. The new Bureau, when it is successfully put in place, will outline its vision for the next phase of the PAP through the President.

As at the close of day on Tuesday, May 25, 2021, information we were privy to from reliable sources at PAP indicated that the five caucuses including West Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa, Northern Africa and Central African regions had successfully nominated candidates to contest for the vacant slots.

Though the Clerk to the Pan-African Parliament, Harawa is yet to put out the official list of nominees by the various caucuses, we are aware that the Southern Caucus has endorsed the Acting President, Hon. Chief Charumbura; the Western Caucus has also nominated Senator Na’Allah for Vice President; while the Eastern Caucus has nominated Hon. Albino Boug for President. We are yet to confirm the nominations of the Northern and the Central Regions.

Source: Clement Akoloh||parliamentnews360.com

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By Melvin Tejan Mansaray

The President  of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has  called on African Leaders to  intensify efforts  to retrieve  the continent's looted cultural treasures, “ which are  being housed in
the museums of the nations that stole them from us.”

President Addo  made this call on Monday 24th May 2021 while delivering the  keynote address at the opening of the Fourth Ordinary Session  of the Fifth Parliament of the Pan African Parliament in Midrand, Johannesburg, South Africa focusing on the African Union theme, “Arts, Culture and Heritage – Levers for Building Africa We Want.”

The Ghanian President, Addo said the theme is commendable, noting that: “  A continent is defined by many things. It defined by its history – to an extent. It is defined by its geography – to an extent. It is defined by its economy – to an extent. It is defined by many other things. However, nothing defines a continent more than its art, culture, customs, heritage, and traditions.”

He recalled that aspiration five of the Agenda 2063 seeks an Africa with a strong cultural identity, common heritage, shared values, and ethics, noting that inasmuch as the continent must be proud of its history, culture, and arts, all must be mindful of the notion of modernization not necessarily being same as Westernization citing reference to Japan being a modern but not a western nation.

“The success or failure of our modernization will be determined largely by how well we preserve what is good about our culture, whilst modifying the aspects that no longer suit our needs,” President Addo said.

The Ghanaian President however makes an emphatic case for the protection of African arts and intellectual properties. “ As we dedicate this year to the promotion of Africa arts, culture, and heritage, against the backdrop of increasing global expression of interests and investments in the sector, we should use the occasion to promote the patenting of African creative designs to protect intellectual property, folklore and traditional knowledge, and adopt other measures to protect us against counterfeiting and piracy,” President  Addo said.

He added that the “Africa We Want” may never be realized if we turn our backs on our arts, culture, customs, and heritage.

He however summed up his submission on the theme by highlighting that: “ Furthermore, we must intensify our efforts at retrieving our looted cultural treasures, which are being housed in the museums of the nations that stole them from us, and making money for them, instead of for us. Come what may, whatever the obstacles, we must get them back. I encourage all others to emulate the laudable examples of those countries which have committed themselves to the process of restoration.”

He however disclosed that the construction of a Pan African World Heritage Museum near Winneba in the Central Region of Ghana will house artifacts and cultural objects from all parts of the Pan African world contributing to the ability to imbibe a deep consciousness of the ideals and goals of Pan Africanism.

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The upcoming Fourth Ordinary Session of the Fifth Parliament of the Pan-African Parliament in Midrand, South Africa would be held under very strict COVID-19 Protocols due to the third wave of the global pandemic in the South African country.

The Clerk to the continental legislative body, Vipya Harawa, disclosed in a virtual press conference held over Zoom on Wednesday, May 19, 2021 that, “it is absolutely out of necessity that the upcoming session would have to be held in person.”

The Press Conference was used to outline the Programme of activities for the upcoming Ordinary Session where the election of a new Bureau to steer the affairs of PAP and the elections of the leadership of the Permanent Committees and Regional caucuses are supposed to be the main highlights of the two-week session.

The President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo has been named as the Special Guest of Honour and Keynote Speaker at the opening of the Session in recognition of his government’s ‘Year of Return’ initiative to reconnect African Americans to the continent which falls directly in line with the African Union (AU) theme for 2021: “Year of the Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want.’’

Meanwhile, the South African variant of Covid-19 which is said to be more infectious, has caused the government of South Africa to put alert systems in place in order to control and prevent mass infections of the disease among the population. The country is currently on adjusted Alert level 1 which has been in place since March 1, 2021.

From the gazetted adjusted Alert Level 1 regulations (Gazette 44201 of 28 February 2021) as adjusted by Gazette 44367 of 30 March 2021 and Gazette 44485 of 22 April 2021, most normal activities can resume with precautions and health guidelines followed at all times, while the population is prepared for an increase in alert levels if necessary.

The Clerk to the Pan-African Parliament, Vipya Harawa, said the Fourth Session of the Fifth Parliament is coming on the backdrop of absolute necessity since the MPs need to meet themselves face to face because of the nature of the personal interactions required in elections and the amendment of rules among others, which are not feasible on a virtual Session.

“The rules have no room for virtual meetings currently and therefore there is the need for the rules to be amended in a physical meeting because the framers did not foresee a situation in the life of PAP where they have to meet virtually. That is why it is out of necessity to meet in person,” the Clerk said.

According to him, this session would adopt new methods and approaches in the conduct of business in the House including the swearing in of new members in strict adherence to the COVID-19 protocols in that country.

For example, there would be no Bible, Quran or any other swearing in material which would be handed over to any member during the swearing in order to avoid any physical contacts. The iconic sash which the new Members used to be decorated with, would be worn by the MPs themselves.

All the members would be taking the oath at the same time and would also have to read the oath from a screen instead of a document to reduce the time spent together in the Chamber and reduce any risk of possible infection among the MPs during the swearing in. The Speaker and the Clerks would not wear Official attire, and even the usual march into the Chamber has been suspended.

Wearing of mask would be insisted on at all times while hand sanitization points would be located at every 20-meter interval and at every entrance as well as thermometers placed at vantage points to be taking the temperatures of members at all times. Anyone found with abnormal temperatures at any point in time would be denied access to the Chamber.

While a mobile clinic would be stationed within the precincts of PAP, all MPs have been asked to take Travel Insurance when they come to South Africa for extra precautions.

Source: Clement Akoloh||parliamentnews360.com

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Jeffrey ONGANGA – Media Officer

H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa AKUFO-ADDO, President of the Republic of Ghana will be the Guest of honour and keynote speaker at the opening ceremony of the fourth Ordinary Session of the fifth Parliament of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP). The ceremony is scheduled to take place on 24 May 2021 at the PAP precincts in Midrand, South Africa.

President AKUFO-ADDO will address African Parliamentarians as they gather to engage on the African Union (AU) theme for 2021: “Year of the Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want.’’

Hon. Chief Fortune CHARUMBIRA, Acting President of the PAP has described H.E. Akufo-Addo as a fervent Pan Africanist, whose presence at the upcoming ordinary session will reaffirm the strategic importance of the PAP as one of the essential pillars to achieve the objectives of the AU.

“President Akufo-Addo’s initiative to reconnect African Americans to the continent was poignant and it is a continuation of Ghana’s history of a Pan-African movement which is central to the progress of Africa and Black people in general. His presence at the next ordinary session, as we commemorate Africa’s culture and heritage, is fitting. We look forward to his message on unity for the social, economic and political progress of the continent as well as the importance of the continent growing together, charting and redefining its own way,” says Hon. Charumbira.

As a reminder, Ghana’s Year of Return in 2019 marked 400 years since the first enslaved Africans reached America. It was also the year Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo-Addo, invited all people of African descent to return to the continent to rethink their identity and reclaim their roots.

H.E. Olusegun OBASANJO, former President of Federal Republic of Nigeria is also expected to deliver a message of solidarity during the opening ceremony. The opening event will further be addressed by H.E. Naledi PANDOR, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) of the Republic of South Africa and host of the PAP. 

The fourth Ordinary Session of the fifth Parliament will include elections for the Bureau that will take the baton from the fifth Parliament on 31 May 2021. At least 100 new delegates from different countries will be sworn in as Members of the PAP following elections in a number of African States and rotation within delegations. 

Source: Pan-African Parliament

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